Barcelona striker Luis Suarez is set to miss the majority of the rest of the season after undergoing knee surgery, the Spanish champions said on Sunday in a huge blow to their hopes of winning the domestic title and Champions League.
A club statement said Suarez, 32, had an operation to treat an injury to the lateral meniscus in his right knee and would be out of action for about four months. The Uruguayan is the third top scorer in La Liga with 11 goals this season and the club's second leading marksman behind Lionel Messi.
Barca have no natural replacement for Suarez at centre-forward, and France forward Antoine Griezmann may have to play in the role unless the team decide to sign a striker before the transfer window closes on Feb. 1.
The Catalans are top of La Liga at the halfway point of the season, locked on 40 points with second-placed Real Madrid. They face Napoli in the last 16 of the Champions League.
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